The Digital Society
The Digital Society is a strategic research initiative at Østfold University College. This initiative aims at building a strong research profile that includes several different research disciplines. An important milestone for this initiative is to get a doctoral programme accredited at our institution.
A description of the research initiative "The Digital Society"
"The Digital Society" research initiative promotes interdisciplinary research activities on how digitalization transforms and affects society. Projects may aim to develop digital solutions that will change and influence societal functions, or projects may aim to analyze the consequences of new digital solutions on aspects such as health, learning, politics and organizational issues.
- Interdisciplinary - An interdisciplinary approach is important for the research activities that support the program development. Interdisciplinarity is a central requirement for doctoral programmes and necessary for enabling the students to aim at common learning outcomes.
- Social relevance - Knowledge about how digitalization can and will transform our society is needed for further development and potential adjustments. There is a need for new competences in numerous challenging work environment affected by the digitalization process.
- Future challenges - Technological development is an ongoing process that affects every part of the society. The PhD program “The Digital Society” will be highly relevant for such future challenges and opportunities that comes with digitalization. The subject area «The Digital Society» will include research projects that will:
- investigate and develop digital tools and technology that will be put in use in different professions and in society in general
- analyze the consequences of the technology-driven development that the society experiences through digitalization.
The research that will support the program development will for instance focus on how digitalization is linked to health and welfare services, education and learning, innovation processes, public administration, or be based upon the development and testing of new/innovative solutions for society.
Current work and updates
Østfold University College has finished recruiting eight new PhD students as a part of strategic research initiative “The Digital Society”. The positions were announced in May and the new PhD students will start in early autumn 2019.
The eight PhD research projects were selected from 23 different project proposals developed by our research staff members. The project descriptions were evaluated by external expert committees that were given certain criterias for the evaluation. Seven projects were selected and will receive full funding by the Østfold University College, and the eight project will be partly funded by Østfold County Council.
The eight Ph.D.-students will work on various projects that will develop unique knowledge about the digital society. At the same time, the Ph.D. candidates will participate in joint seminars and meetings to discuss and reflect upon academic issues, exchange experiences, and in so doing play a key role in building a strong and vibrant research culture in "The Digital Society" area. The selected PhD candidates will start their new positions in early autumn 2019.
PhD program model
A working model for "The Digital Society" has been developed by the working and steering groups responsible for this research initiative. The model has an interdisciplinary approach and allows inclusion of several research environments at Østfold University College with competences to develop this process towards an accreditation of a PhD program. Changes are expected to the working model and study direction content during continuous work towards the accreditation of the first PhD program.
The model consists from four interdisciplinary study directions:
- DigiTech: The study direction DigiTech represents the research core that will enhance and develop specific knowledge of digital technology. This research module is closely connected with the other modules in the PhD program and will provide knowledge of digital technology applications and development in relation to the working processes, health and learning.
- Module coordinator: Associate Professor Jan Høiberg
- DigiHealth: The study direction DigiHealth will study development of new or established technological solutions and their use in the health sector. This module will also focus on critical analysis of how the implementation of digital technology affects the health sector.
- Module coordinator: Professor Vigdis Abrahamsen Grøndahl
- DigiWork: This study direction will focus on how digital technology influences organizations and working processes in different sectors. The emphasis will be placed on interdisciplinary work and development of new solutions and methods.
- Module coordinator: Professor Marit Kristine Helgesen
- DigiLearn: DigiLearn will focus on the development and enhancement of new methods and solutions that promote learning processes with the help of technology. Research studies that analyse how these methods and solutions influence the learning processes will be central in this module.
- Module coordinator: Professor Hilde Wågsås Afdal